DETROIT -- With outfielder Magglio Ordonez and second baseman Carlos Guillen landing on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski's job got a little bit harder.
The Trade Deadline is less than a week away, and the Tigers have some gaping holes in their lineup. Injuries to third baseman Brandon Inge and reliever Joel Zumaya have led the Tigers to dig deep into their farm system.
"We've lost our third baseman, our right fielder and our second baseman," Dombrowski said. "Plus, we'd already lost [reliever] Joel Zumaya. So we'll see who steps up for us internally. You're not going to trade for every one of those positions. It's just not going to happen. But we'll see if there's something that makes sense for us."
But Dombrowski was adamant that the Tigers aren't willing to dish out highly touted prospects to try and win now -- most notably pitchers Andy Oliver and Jacob Turner.
"Other clubs look at us and say, 'Well, they are desperate so maybe they will trade us Oliver and Turner,' " Dombrowski said. "Well we aren't. I'm not meaning to say that anyone is untouchable. I'm not going to give away blue-chip young players for a guy for two months. It just doesn't make sense. Will we be active in talking to people? Yes. If there is a deal that we think can be made that can help us, will we? Yes. Are we going to mortgage our future? No.
Dombrowski said most trade calls have revolved around the two young pitching prospects. However, he's not ready to dish them out or rush to any quick decisions.
"It just seems like every conversation we have starts with those two names," he said. "I don't care if it's a guy who's the 12 guy on your staff or your 25 players. They say we'd like one of those two guys. But sorry, I'm just not there. I'm not going to do that."
Dombrowski pushed aside a rumor that the Tigers may be interested in free agent Jermaine Dye to fill the void in right field left by Ordonez's injury.
"You are talking about signing guys and getting them into shape and batting," Dombrowski said. "You are probably talking a month. By then, you almost have your own guys back in some cases. I won't discount anything, but most likely that's not realistic for us. I haven't had a lot of luck with those guys coming back."
Dombrowski and his staff will travel with the Tigers on their upcoming road trip to Tampa Bay and will continue to work the phones, looking for a deal that could help pull improve and emerge out of the closely contested American League Central.
"These days are like weeks at other times of the year," Dombrowski said. "Things change daily at this time of the year. As you get close to the 31st, different things all of a sudden come up. I'm going to stay in contact with people and we will be prepared to see what happens."
Bonderman moved to nightcap, avoids heat
DETROIT -- Tigers starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has done his fair share of pitching during day games this season. Two of his past three starts have come during afternoon games.
The right-hander has started in eight matinees this year, posting a 4-2 record. Because Friday's rainout led to a doubleheader on Sunday, Bonderman was again slated for Sunday's afternoon game. But on Saturday, Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced that he decided to switch his original rotation.
Starter Armando Galarraga threw the day game, while Bonderman started the nightcap.
"I thought it was going to be beautiful and hot [Sunday]," Leyland said. "Bonderman has had every hot game that we've had so far. So I thought I'd give him a little blow, so he can pitch the night game. The poor guy has had every steamy, hot afternoon game we've played it seems like. I said, 'You know what, let's give him the night game.' "
Sick but eager Damon forced into action
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't want to have to use Johnny Damon on Saturday night. Unfortunately, he didn't have much of a choice.
Injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen left the Tigers with a very short bench on Saturday. Damon was in the clubhouse when he saw the injury to Guillen, and he immediately suited up and went down to the dugout. Leyland opted to use him in a pinch-hitting role in the ninth inning to try to spark a comeback in a one-run game, but he grounded out to second base.
Damon was out of the lineup on Saturday with a stomach ailment that he believed was food poisoning. He said he was up all night vomiting on Friday, thus leading to his day off Saturday night.
"I feel much better today," Damon said Sunday morning. "But the minute I saw Guillen walk through the clubhouse, I threw my stuff on because I knew [Ramon] Santiago was going in for Magglio. I'll do whatever it takes. I know he didn't want to, and I wish I could have come through for him."
The veteran outfielder was out of the lineup for the first game of a doubleheader with the Blue Jays on Sunday, but he started the nightcap.
Rhymes' debut like first day of school
DETROIT -- Will Rhymes could be spending Sunday hitting the books in the process of earning his medical degree. Instead, he made his Major League debut at Comerica Park on Sunday.
The 27-year-old graduated from The College of William and Mary in Virginia with a biology/pre-med degree, but he decided to push that aside and focus on baseball. On Sunday, that decision finally paid off.
"Other times I've questioned my decision," the second-baseman said. "But this is a dream come true. This is what I've wanted to do since I was little. This makes everything worth it. I never regretted the decision to play baseball. I'm glad I stuck with it."
Rhymes had his contract purchased by the Tigers on Sunday, after injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen landed them on the 15-day disabled list. He had his first at-bat in Detroit's 5-3 loss in the first game of the doubleheader, but he struck out against Toronto closer Kevin Gregg in his pinch-hitting role.
Nonetheless, he said his first at-bat would help calm his nerves in the nightcap, in which he started at second base.
"I wasn't really expecting to get in," Rhymes said. "I was getting my body loose in case I needed to pinch-run or something. I hadn't looked at the lineup to see where we were. I was walking out from getting loose, and Johnny Damon told me I was leading off. I thought he was messing with me."
Rhymes was hitting .304 -- good for fifth in the International League -- and also had a league-high six triples with 34 RBIs and 20 stolen bases for the Mud Hens. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Rhymes will exclusively play second base, but he didn't say if he will be the everyday second baseman until Guillen returns from a right-calf strain.
Along with Rhymes, his roommate with Triple-A Toledo, Jeff Larish, also had his contract purchased by the Tigers on Sunday. The two good friends rode together to the ballpark Sunday morning and are happy to be sharing the experience.
"I'm extremely excited for this," Rhymes said. "But I'm not sure if it's really set in too much. Everything is going fast right now."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said middle reliever Eddie Bonine will start Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay. Because of Sunday's make-up doubleheader, the rotation was pushed back a day, resulting in the need for the bullpen start in the second game of the four-game set against the Rays. ... Center fielder Austin Jackson missed the cycle by a home run in the matinee on Sunday. He was so good that Leyland opted to keep him in the starting lineup for the nightcap, despite planning to do otherwise. "I think the All-Star break was really good for him," Leyland said. "It freshened him up a little bit. I'm going to have to watch him close because I think he got a little tired towards the end of the first half. I'm going to give him a day off against those tough righties in Tampa." ... Danny Worth's home run in the first game of the doubleheader broke Toronto's streak of 79 straight road innings without giving up a long ball.
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.